Aging societies in developed countries, a shortage of skilled workers in many parts of the world, increasingly digitalized workplaces, global competition for well-qualified engineers and the younger generation’s expectations of employers – these are just some of the challenges faced by Vossloh in the area of human resources. The Company, therefore, attaches great importance to providing its employees with a motivating working environment. Being a green company in a crisis-proof industry is a vital component of employer branding.
Modern IT facilities, fresh fruit, free mineral water, surprise gifts on special occasions, i.e. Christmas, Easter – and Thanksgiving (U.S. only), sports groups and team building are all clear incentives for employees at Vossloh. The COVID-19 pandemic has further increased flexible mobile working, particularly in administrative areas. It is flanked by new communication and event formats such as virtual coffee breaks, online yoga groups and digital Christmas parties. A Group-wide agreement on mobile working has been in force since 2020, based on the Company’s home office experience.
Vossloh practices a life phase-oriented HR policy. The issue of work-life balance is discussed between employee representatives and management in a constructive manner. For employees of the German arm of Vossloh, the “Career and Family” audit represented a key milestone. The instruments listed range from flexible working hours, flextime, part-time and parental leave models to mobile working, personal sabbaticals, childcare and care support services, as well as the conversion of bonus payments into free time for the family. Arrangements are in place at Vossloh’s companies in France to ensure the employees do not have to be available for work during their leisure time. The Customized Modules division is currently working on a “Balance Work Private Life” arrangement.
Issues that further strengthen Vossloh’s sustainability approach are also incorporated into the Company’s bonus system. The continuous improvement process (CIP) already in place in some business units was also transformed into the Group-wide Fit4Future ideas program in 2021 in close cooperation with employee representatives and the Executive Board. All employees can submit ideas via an app available in several languages and support their implementation across all business units. The express aim is to reduce the use of materials and energy as well as manpower and time in all areas of the Company, thereby cutting costs. The best projects resulting from the submitted proposals are entered in an annual competition. Three projects selected by a jury will each receive the newly created Eduard Vossloh Award at the Leaders’ Lounge. In 2021, projects from China, France and Germany were up for selection as finalists. Participants of the virtual Leaders Lounge were asked to choose the winner.
In the year under review, employees or teams from all business units submitted a total of over 650 ideas, of which more than 180 were implemented in 2021. 15 proposals were nominated for the prize named after the Company’s founder – consisting of a cash sum as well as training and team building opportunities. A team from Vossloh Rail Services in Hamburg received the €15,000 first prize. The idea of visual remote maintenance of track processing machines with the help of data glasses was particularly attractive because of the scalability of the solution for the entire Group. The runner-up with a €10,000 prize was a team from the Vossloh Switch Systems Chinese joint venture WCRCT in Wuhu. The project resulted in the fact that for the production of several types of switch blade blanks, only the third of three molds now needs to be manufactured and replaced. Third prize, which stood at €5,000, went to a team from Switch Systems in Fère-en-Tardenois for an idea that eliminates the need to rework holes in switch backing plates.
Vossloh Group companies assess employee satisfaction by means of regular surveys regarding various focal issues. The results serve as the basis for improvement measures and changes. In 2021, employee surveys were conducted, among others, at Vossloh Fastening Systems’ sites regarding health protection in Germany (see “Occupational health management” section on page 92) and in Poland. In addition, all trainees in the business unit were asked to rate the quality of their training. The excellent result led to the Company being awarded the “Training Company 2021” seal of approval. From the administrative staff, survey Vossloh Rail Services received valuable information on potential improvements that could be made in mobile working, such as shared desks or virtual coffee breaks, but also on deficits, for example, in remote management.